They’re the main plot of so many movies, and the thing that we obsess over from the moment that we start having romantic interest in our life, or the desire to be ‘with’ someone. Relationships have been painted as the mechanism by which we’ll simultaneously find both salvation and ruin – depending on how they play out, of course.

From a biological perspective, relationships are nature’s way of propagating the human race. After all, without physical attraction, mating would cease along with our species, but I believe that relationships have a far deeper meaning and purpose than the simple act of procreation.

This is obvious when you take homosexuality into account because biologically, this would defeat the purpose and homosexuality has been around in all species for as long as science has been able to study it.

So, what then is the purpose of relationships if not to create a family unit and keep the species from going extinct? It’s my belief and experience that relationships are meant to help us evolve and become the best version of ourselves. Both platonic and romantic relationships can be the crucible through which the best of us is expressed and the worst of us is dealt with and diffused.

When you really put some thought into it, you start to see that literally everything is in relationship to something else.

We live in a dualistic world – up and down, left and right, good and bad, etc… – where we are only able to define just about everything based on its opposite. So, why then would our interpersonal relationships be any different?

Relationships should never be viewed as a mechanism for salvation or completion (see Jerry Maguire: “You complete me”), but rather growth and evolution. It’s true that romantic relationships can – and often do – go much deeper than platonic ones, and there’s a much higher level of accountability in them as well, so for the sake of this article I’ll be discussing them from here on out, but the concepts here apply almost as much to friendships as they do to romantic relationships – only to a lesser degree.

Just as cold by itself is indistinguishable without heat, a single and unattached person can live exactly as they choose without having to answer for anything that they do or say (within limits, of course). They can stay out all night if they choose to, without letting anyone know where they are, and they can leave their dirty clothes on the floor, or dishes in the sink. If they don’t have a roommate, they’ll never hear anything about any of it. Likewise, they can be rude, selfish, crass, or kind, polite, and selfless, and the only thing that will change is how much their friends want to hang out with them.

As we all know, this changes drastically when we find ourselves in a relationship with someone.

How many times have you been in a relationship, and after a few months you hear the dreaded words: “you’ve changed” from your friends? Why do we have a fear of change when it’s the only true constant in life? Evolution, by definition, includes change, but as humans, we try to keep everything static, unchanged and the same.

This makes sense because our biology is always working towards homeostasis. When we exert ourselves, the body sweats to cool itself down and when we’re cold, the body shivers to warm itself up, and so on. It takes a great deal of awareness to be able to objectively look at our circumstances and choose to evolve, grow and let go of what is and who we are, for what could be, and who we could become.

I believe that relationships are one key of many that unlock the door to our evolution. The best relationships are sometimes the most challenging ones, and they’re also the ones where you look at your partner and realize that having them in your life actually makes you want to be a better version of yourself.

I feel like this would be a great time to discuss yoga and the chakras, since yoga literally means ‘union’. When trying to understand the chakras, or energy centers in the body, it helps to understand what they represent. Before I dive into this though, I feel that it’s important to point out that science has found that we have bundles of nerves that correlate to each of the energy centers (chakras) in our bodies and I don’t believe that this is a coincidence by any stretch of the imagination.

Briefly, here are the chakras and their functions:

The root chakra, which can be found at the base of the spine or at the perineum, is ruby red in color and deals with being grounded. It’s also related to our basic needs for food, shelter, safety and security.

The sacral chakra, which is found at the pelvis area, is vibrant orange in color and deals with our creativity – we’ll be addressing this chakra, specifically, in more detail in a moment. It’s related to all of our creative endeavors, including artistic and sexual (as in literal creation).

The solar plexus chakra, which is found at the navel/solar plexus, is bright yellow in color and deals with our personal power. It’s also related to control issues – both over others and ourselves.

The heart chakra, which is found in the center of the chest, is emerald green in color and deals with love. It deals with our ability to give and receive love, as well as how to express and interpret it.

The throat chakra, which is found in the throat, is royal blue in color and is all about our ability to speak clearly and effectively. It’s also at the center of our ability – or lack thereof – to fully speak our truth.

The third eye chakra, which is located at the space in between the eyebrows, is indigo in color and deals with our ability to see things clearly and know the truth.

Finally, the crown chakra, which is located just above the crown of our head, is white in color and deals with our connection to the divine.

If you look closely at the chakras, it can become really obvious how the chakras relate to relationships, and even which ones are in or out of alignment with respect to the agreement or disagreement you are currently experiencing in your relationship.

You could argue that the 2nd (sacral) chakra is the progenitor of romantic relationships, and I would agree with that assessment.

When our physical needs of food, shelter, clothing and security aren’t met, we are much less likely to be seeking a relationship. We only do so once those base needs are covered. You could look at the chakras from root to crown as a ladder of evolution where each level needs to be in alignment before you can climb to the next level.

Relationships that are based only in the sacral chakra are typically quite physical and not much else. They tend to be passionate, start quickly and end quickly as well. They aren’t fulfilling beyond the physical, and they represent the procreation instinct born in each and every one of us.

Most relationships that fail do so because the initial physical attraction never progresses beyond the bottom three chakras. Usually, the relationship stalls out and fails when the power struggle starts – the solar plexus chakra. One person tries to control the other or show dominance in some way, and the other will only put up with it for so long if at all. So how do the chakras relate to evolving as a person in or through a relationship? Glad you asked. They relate much the same way that they do to us evolving on our own through the chakras. Both require introspection and a commitment to be better than we were before.

The best relationships are the ones where the connection doesn’t end with the sacral connection. The best relationships are forged through a commitment to connect through all of them. It’s when you make a choice to be connected spiritually first, mentally second, and physically last. That’s not to say that you forgo pleasure or passion – on the contrary. The passion and pleasure are intense and far greater because you share an intimacy that can only be found through a committed effort to evolve together and choose one another every single day. It’s about trusting the other person to show you and tell you when you’re not living up to your potential, but doing so with love and kindness, and it’s about doing the same for them.

When this happens, you’re aligned on all the levels that matter and you can evolve and grow together. This is how the best and longest-lasting relationships are created. Does this mean that you never fight with each other? Not by a long shot. You’re still two individuals who’ve come together in a partnership, so there’s always going to be disagreement. What changes is how the disagreement is handled. Instead of seeing your partner as an adversary that needs to be conquered, you see your partner as a teammate and the problem as the adversary that needs to be conquered.

Getting to this point isn’t necessarily easy – especially in this day and age of instant gratification – but it is quite simple. When you decide what you want and set your intention to have it, you must set your boundaries and adhere to them. You can truly manifest everything that you want, but every manifestation requires inspired action on your part.

If you are currently in a relationship, you can begin right now to work toward evolving together. If you’re not, you can set the intention to attract the person that will evolve with you. Regardless of your status – single, married or dating – our relationships can be the most powerful tools for our evolution and the best mirrors within which to perceive our very soul.

Relationships: The Soul Mirror was written by IAUSM Faculty member, Adam Kruger. After completing a 200hr Yoga and Ayurveda teacher’s training, Adam’s mission is to help others find peace and harmony through meditation and mindfulness/awareness.

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